The little array that could
Updated May 19, 2020
The little array that could
Score 10 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Pure Storage FlashArray
We have 5 FlashArrays, shared in a 5 organization multi-tenant environment. Two are for file servers, two are general purpose, and one is for Oracle and SQL databases. These were purchased over a two year period, to replace aging monolithic SAN arrays. They resolved all of our storage bandwidth bottlenecks and capacity issues.
- They are excellent for virtual environments. The speed and dedupe/compression is extremely valuable.
- We have had excellent performance running Oracle and SQL databases on the FlashArray.
- The maintenance couldn't be easier. Downtime is virtually non-existent because of the design of the architecture.
- With Evergreen, we will receive free controller upgrades with support renewal.
- It would be nice to be able to perform storage copies directly between volumes on a FlashArray.
- Integration with VMware where you could replicate a volume, then point vms to the new volume.
- Bring the price of a disk pack (10 disks) down to a reasonable amount. It's almost the same price to purchase an entire new FlashArray.
- Very little management after initial setup.
- It is quite expensive, so we haven't noticed an ROI on hardware costs, but many less man hours are required to manage the FlashArrays.
- The performance provided using a FlashArray over legacy SAN, is probably the biggest ROI we see.
- The minimal amount of space required of a Flash Array saves on data enter rack space.
Cost would be the one factor that almost kept me from purchasing the Flash Arrays. They are almost prohibitively expensive. I ran a proof od concept (POC) of the Flash Array side-by-side with another vendor's flash storage array. The Pure was easier and a slight bit faster. I also have counterparts that were already using Pure.
The simplicity and performance has transformed our business. I used to spend a considerable amount of time managing legacy storage, but now I have time to run POCs on other products as well as managing the health of my virtual environment.
Simplicity of configuring the Flash Array and of provisioning storage would be the number one useful feature. Besides that, I would say the ability to easily create snapshots of storage and replication to another array.
If you can, purchase drive packs to fill up what hardware you are purchasing. To purchase disk packs (10 drives) afterwards, if extremely costly, even prohibitively so. A disk pack can cost upwards of 90% of a whole new array with the same amount of space included.
I have had nothing but outstanding support from Pure Storage. We had one issue with networking after an upgrade. Support worked with my for several hours to resolve the issue. Once second level support got involved, they figured out the problem and created a workaround right away.
I looked at several different vendors, then did a POC bake-off between the Pure Storage FlashArray and Nimble Storage AF series flash array. It was very close on performance, but Pure was easier to set up, manage, and maintenance was non-disruptive.
- I have replicated from one FlashArray to another at a remote data center. Once the replication was complete, we were able to bring up our virtual environment very quickly.
- I have migrated many virtual machines between datastores on an array in minutes, enabling me to use smaller datastores where needed.
It works very well for single purpose workloads (think databases or same type applications). It seems to struggle with good compression and deduping mixed workloads. We have noticed about a 6:1 ratio with DBs, and <3:1 on mixed workloads or large file servers. It is still extremely fast, just not as good compression and dedupe.
Pure Storage FlashArray Feature Ratings
We have absolutely benefited from the simplicity of the FlashArrays. We almost never have to even log in to do anything other than provision Storage. Maintenance is performed by support when we schedule after hours, and we have had virtually no issues with upgrades or hardware problems. The man hours saved has been huge.